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Brood X Cicadas: A once-every-17-years occurrence

Dog Day Cicadas

Dog Day Cicadas
A dog day cicada shedding its skin


What's an inch and a half long, sucks on tree juice, and as loud as a chainsaw? Cicadas!

Most years, Michiganders get to enjoy the late, hot, dog days of summer listening to the buzzing drone of dog day cicadas as they advertise for mates. These insects spend the beginning of their lives underground and then crawl out to become adults in the summer heat each year.

After a month or two of buzzing and breeding, these adult cicadas die.

Periodical cicadas

Periodical cicadas


But Michigan is home to another type of cicada that's getting ready to put on a show this year. Unlike dog day cicadas where adults emerge from the ground every year, the periodical cicadas stay underground for over a decade and then emerge as adults in one giant frenzy every 17 years before the young they leave behind disappear for the next 17 years.

Parts of the southern 3 tiers of counties in Michigan are part of Brood X (pronounced brood ten), the group of periodical cicadas due to emerge this year. And unlike the dog day cicadas, these bugs show up in the spring. Expect adults to start appearing in late April to mid May when ground temperatures get high enough.

While we don't fully know how far the range of this species extends into Michigan, they've been spotted in the past in Washtenaw, Genesee, Livingston, Oakland and Lenawee counties in southeastern Michigan and St. Joseph and Branch counties in the southwest.

Map of active periodical cicada broods of the US
Map of active periodical cicadas in the US

For an in-depth look at what to expect, check out this recent Stateside on Michigan Radio: After 17 years underground, swarms of "noisy, lusty" cicadas to emerge in SE Michigan.


Images of periodical and dog day cicadas

Brood X cicada shedding skin

Brood X cicada

Dog day cicada shedding skin



You have the opportunity to help researchers better understand this critter in Michigan by exploring your city, county, and state lands and sharing your sightings using the Cicada Safari app. Help map the 2021 emergence of the periodical cicada Brood X! Learn more about these amazing insects at Team Cicada at UConn.

Possible places to see cicadas

Possible places to see cicadas